The 2000 Lexus RX300 provides a good example of how the features of a sport utility vehicle (SUV) blend with elements of luxury. The manufacturer joins the bandwagon of creating the new type of SUV built for highway driving. The equation offers good styling, decent fuel economy, and a quality ride.
The RX300 does not mark the top choice if you want to go off-roading but it negotiates corners very well. It also offers reliable performance on unpaved paths and during heavy snowfall. During its release, the RX300 became the benchmark for other car manufacturers.
Body Styles: four-door SUV
Engines: 3.0-liter V-6
Transmissions: four-speed automatic
Models: Lexus RX300
The mechanical setup of the RX300 remains untouched for the 2000 model year. A new Mineral Green Opalescent joins the body finish choices.
The RX 300 suits the urban setting, and it does not look good if you bring it to a meeting of full-grown off-roaders. This midsize SUV uses the sedan platform utilized by Lexus for its ES300 and by mother company Toyota for its flagship Camry. To put it clearly, the 2000 Lexus RX300 has a unibody chassis used for cars and not a tougher architecture naturally used for sport utility vehicles and trucks.
The Lexus SUV designers make entry and exit a breeze for the driver and passengers. Once you hop in, the leather-covered front seats offer good support.
The back seat has headrests for all three passengers. Back passengers enjoy plenty of knee room, but the shoulder room feels a bit tight. The rear bench can be pushed forward if you need to gain extra space for your cargo.
The location of the shifter seems a bit odd to some. It sits on the lower portion of the center console. Some drivers find it practical given the space right in between the front seats.
The trip computer gives a lot of feedback to the driver. This ranges from driving time, to fuel consumption, to average speed. These data update in regular intervals. It also shows information about the climate inside the vehicle and the temperature outside.
Performance & Handling
The 2000 Lexus RX300 sports a three-liter, V-6 engine capable of giving out 220 horses. It reaches a peak torque of 222 lb-ft, 80 percent of which remains available at the low-revolution range. This engine mates with a four-speed automatic gearbox similar to the transmission of its sedan cousin. The four-wheel-drive system comes as an option and proves useful for all-weather driving.
Step on the gas pedal and you can feel the spirited attitude of the RX300. The transmission, whether up or down, shifts smoothly.
The suspension system consists of an antiroll bar and MacPherson struts in front working with traverse links and Chapman struts in the rear. This setup guarantees a cushioned ride but results in a good dose of body roll.
The ride stays whisper quiet, but there can be wind noise around the sunroof spoiler when you open the sunroof.
Although best for the city streets, it has no problem going over loose surfaces. It handles dirt roads and surfaces covered with gravel crisply. The handling remains balanced despite some bumps on the road. Daring drivers who push the RX300 to its limit can expect the rear end not to step out as the front tires may wash out a bit.
The available four-wheel-drive system becomes functional when the road gets slippery. The force gets distributed to the four wheels, aided by center and rear limited-slip differentials, to help the driver get some traction and maintain control of the vehicle.
The front-drive RX300 model seems ideal for those who live in the confines of the city and regularly negotiate potholes. This SUV handles road imperfections with much poise, perhaps even better than most sedans.
All wheels make use of disc brakes assisted by an anti-lock brake system. Other safety provisions include front- and side-impact airbags, seat belt pretensioners, child seat anchors, and side-impact beams.
EPA Fuel Economy
Lexus RX300: 19/24 mpg city/highway
- Nice interior layout
- Well-behaved on the road
- Nice styling
You Won't Like
- Poor off-road capabilities
- No V-8 option
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